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Meroles ctenodactylus (SMITH, 1838)

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Giant Desert Lizard, Smith's Sand Lizard, Smith's Desert Lizard 
SynonymLacerta ctenodactylus SMITH 1838
Eremias capensis — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 328 (fide BISCHOFF, p.c.)
Scapteira ctenodactyla — LOVERIDGE 1936: 63
Scaptira ctenodactylus — FITZSIMONS 1943: 366
Meroles ctenodactyla — BURRAGE 1978
Meroles ctenodactylus — HARRIS et al. 1998
Meroles ctenodactylus — SZCZERBAK 1989
Meroles ctenodactylus — EDWARDS et al. 2013 
DistributionOutermost southwest of Namibia and South Africa (westernmost Cape province)

Type locality: Great Namaqualand, Southwest Africa  
TypesTypes: lost (fide FITZSIMONS 1943); there are however two specimens of Smith's Acanthodactylus capensis in the British Museum of Natural HIstory, but these though regarded as the types, do not appear to be the actual specimens figured and described by Smith in his “Illustrations". 
CommentSympatry: M. cuneirostris, M. anchietae in S Namibia. 
  • Arnold, E.N. 1991. Relationships of the South African lizards assigned to Aporosaura, Meroles and Pedioplanis (Reptilia: Lacertidae). Journal of Natural History 25: 783–807 - get paper here
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bauer, A.M., and Branch, W.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the Richtersveld National Park, Northern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Herpetological Natural History 8: 111-160 [2001]
  • BRANCH, W. R. 2013. Meroles ctenodactylus (Smith 1838). African Herp News (59): 54-56 - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1994. Herpetofauna of the Sperrgebeit [sic] Region of Southern Namibia. Herpetological Natural History 2 (1): 1-11.
  • Burrage B R 1978. Reptiles collected from the west coast of the Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 81 (3): 265-271 - get paper here
  • Cunningham, Peter. 2013. Meroles ctenodactylus (Smith, 1838) Smith's Desert Lizard. Diet. African Herp News (60): 22-23 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol. 5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
  • EDWARDS, SHELLEY; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, BIEKE VANHOOYDONCK, ANTHONY HERREL, G. JOHN MEASEY, KRYSTAL A. TOLLEY 2013. Taxonomic adjustments in the systematics of the southern African lacertid lizards (Sauria: Lacertidae). Zootaxa 3669 (2): 101–114 - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F. 1943. The lizards of South Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No.1 (Pretoria), 528 pp.
  • Fu, J. 1998. Toward the phylogeny of the family Lacertidae: implications from mitochondrial DNA 12S and 16S gene sequences (Reptilia: Squamata). Mol Phylogenet Evol 9 (1): 118-30 - get paper here
  • Harris, D. James; E. Nicholas Arnold, and Richard H. Thomas 1998. Rapid Speciation, Morphological Evolution, and Adaptation to Extreme Environments in South African Sand Lizards (Meroles) as Revealed by Mitochondrial Gene Sequences. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 10 (1): 37–48 - get paper here
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1936. African reptiles and amphibians in the Field Museum of Natural History. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Chicago, 22 (1): 1-122 - get paper here
  • Pérez I de Lanuza G, Font E 2016. The evolution of colour pattern complexity: selection for conspicuousness favours contrasting within-body colour combinations in lizards. J Evol Biol. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12835 - get paper here
  • Robinson, M.D.; C.W. Barrows 2013. Namibian and North American sand-diving lizards. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 116–125 - get paper here
  • Smith, A. 1838. Contributions to the Natural History of Southern Africa. Art. VIII. Mag. Nat. Hist., London, 2 (14): 92-94
  • Szczerbak, Nikolai N. 1989. Catalogue of the African Sand lizards (Reptilia: Sauria: Eremiainae: Lampreremias, Pseuderemias, Taenieremias, Mesalina, Meroles). Herpetozoa 1 (3/4): 119-132. - get paper here
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